Paul Storey’s work reflects both renaissance and 20th century influences; from Mantegna, Cranach, Ingres to Picasso and De Kooning.
As with the great artists of the past, his work is based in narrative, often reflecting on moments in greek and Christian mythology, Shakespeare’s tragedies or the music of Wagner, to create imaginary worlds. Each is populated by human forms that seem to be so stretched by titanic forces, so much so that their bodies are distorted. But set against these seemingly dark menacing worlds of turbulence and violence is the often startling serenity of the portraits and the beauty of the objects within.
Although his practice is routed in the ideals of the old masters, these paintings are not derived from initial drawings but, as with Degas and Kandinsky, they evolve almost organically on the canvas.
His capacity to draw in paint, with a dazzling assurance, allows figures to mutate, to appear and disappear, leaving only traces which add to the richness of each work.
This layering creates a kind of visionary realism, within which elements of surrealism and symbolism are subsumed in a new order.
The narratives, ideas and personae mutate through this process, producing new and urgent meanings and resonance’s from traditional material.
"I like to lose myself in a painting , so that I can find what I’m looking for."
"The imagery used in Paul Storey’s work is inexhaustible and often highly personal… Storey’s work has such depth precisely because it encapsulates almost infinite associations which, as the artist himself says, are as subject to change as the colours, form or shapes. In trying to pin down a logical meaning these pieces lose something. In Storey’s oeuvre the ideas come from innumerable different sources, and grow and develop. There is a symbolic progression in his work ; earlier paintings will bring forth new ideas which may then transmute further in subsequent pieces. Often it is the inexpressible that is most important. It is the immediate impact of a piece, the instinctive, unconscious associations and impressions that are created in any viewer,rather than any subsequent explanation of the meaning of the images, that counts. some objects are used solely for their poetic values whiles some function as a repository for a collection of ideas which serve various ends. .."
(Rosalind Morrison ‘Paul Storey’ Christies Fine Art course 1998)